I have been busy working on our progress criteria for Life After Levels (you can see the thinking behind it and a first draft here) and this in turn has started me thinking about how we will assess pupils work and give feedback. At the moment marking tends to focus on key assessment pieces. Every 6 weeks or so they will complete a rather substantial assessment, receive feedback and then respond to this feedback. In between there is a lot of peer and self assessment, verbal feedback and less formal marking of shorter pieces of work. I am not sure this is especially effective.
One key piece of advice I keep seeing on feedback is that pupils need a chance to revisit a skill or element of their work that they have received feedback on immediately. There is no point in hoping they will apply their feedback several months down the line. This is the reason for giving DIRT time after marking but I don’t think it goes far enough or is making a difference for all students and there is still a habit of quickly moving on to the next topic.
When rewriting the assessment policy for next year I want to keep in mind the from the DfE on effective marking neatly summarised here by @Gary_S_King.
I think this statement is really key;
Marking has evolved into an unhelpful burden for teachers, when the time it takes is not repaid in positive impact on pupils’ progress. This is frequently because it is serving a different purpose such as demonstrating teacher performance or to satisfy the requirements of other, mainly adult, audiences.
As part of Life After Levels we will have a very clear list of 9 key strands that we believe make up excellence in Geography. This should enable us to plan more opportunities for pupils to make progress in these key areas. It should also be simpler to track this progress to allow us to address any areas of weakness. This surely is the purpose of effective feedback. It puts learning first.
This week my year 10 class are going to complete a decision making task similar to one they will face in their Geography exam next year. After completing it I will mark it and provide detailed feedback to improve it. They will then redraft it and highlight areas where they have made changes due to the feedback. I plan to then make a display from this work showing pupils how they should be using feedback to make progress rather than responding to feedback to make their books look pretty for observers. I can also annotate the best pieces as examples of excellence in Geography to demonstrate the quality of work we are looking for.